English wine is gaining significantly in popularity and interest is at an all-time high. Production may still be relatively small compared to the established wine growing countries and regions, but there’s little doubt that with steadily warming temperatures and the increasing levels of investment and expertise, English wine is a coming force and is now starting to rival wines around the world. English vineyards are now winning prestigious awards, including Winbirri Vineyards in Norfolk scooping one of the most coveted medals at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards just last week.
English Wine Week is just around the corner, a national campaign designed to raise awareness of English wine across the country through retail outlets – from supermarkets to independent wine merchants, delicatessens to hotels, pubs, bars and restaurants. Vineyards across the country will also be opening their doors to welcome visitors, offering tours, tastings and special offers. There will be a wide range of activities which take place across the country to celebrate English Wine Week.
In an interesting sign of the development and growing reputation of English wine the well-known French winemaker Champagne Taittinger has a taken a 55% stake in a new vineyard being planted in Kent. 40 hectares will be planted over the next two or three years, but sadly we’ll have to wait until 2023 for the first wine to be released as the vines need time to grow and the wines will be aged for at least three years. Shame!
One Million Vines To Be Planted
It’s not only Champagne Taittinger who is busy planting vines. This year, an estimated one million vines will be planted, the largest number of vines ever planted in a single year in the UK according to English Wine Producers.
The recent late frosts in April affected a number of English vineyards, along with many in France and Italy too. It seems it’s too early to say what affect this will have on production and prices, as producers won’t know until it comes to flowering. Also, as sparkling wine forms the majority of production in England is aged for several years before being released, the effects of any loss in production won’t be felt by consumers until around 2020.
Whatever the short-term weather related issues, confidence is riding high in the developing English and Welsh wine industry at the moment. As a supplier to the industry and someone who is partial to the odd glass of English wine myself, long may it continue!
Look out for events taking place in your area as English Wine Week gets underway on the 27th May. And don’t forget to follow #EnglishWineWeek on twitter @englishwine and @englishwineweek!
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